Thursday, 11 February 2010

New trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's THE LAST AIRBENDER

The Last Airbender is the live-action movie based on the award-winning, hit animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender (the name was changed for James Cameron-related reasons), which for my money is one of the better SF&F series of the last decade. The film is being directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and is being regarded by some movie fans as his 'last chance' to make a good impression after a string of high-profile flops. The film's development has attracted a great deal of criticism, mainly down to the decision to change the ethnicity of the races from the TV series in favour of white actors.

That said, this is the first trailer which actually features dialogue and more of a feel for how the film will actually work. On the plus side, the action sequences seem competently handled (a key question, as Shyamalan has not really done effects-heavy action work before), the element-bending effects seem reasonably faithful to the TV series and there's an undeniable thrill to seeing some images from the cartoon series realised in live-action, such as Aang using his glider, Sokka and Katara finding him entombed in the ice and the battle for the northern water tribe's city. The actor they found for Aang doesn't say anything in the trailer, but looks the part and seems able to carry out his action sequences with aplomb.

On the downside, the actress they found for Katara seems a bit mediocre and for the non-cartoon-series fans the whole thing looks a bit too generic with none of the sparkle or humour of the animated series coming through, at least in this clip.

However, they do seem to have achieved a major success by finding a really good actor to play Iroh (a key and very complex character from the series) and Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel has got Zuko's smouldering frustrated rage down nicely.

Overall, I am left slightly hopeful that this movie - due in July 2010 - will be better then what some people feared. Hopefully, it will raise the profile of the animated series further and take it on to greater success as well.


Kevin said...

Thanks much for posting this. I got excited about the Super Bowl spot and very pleasantly surprised by the release of the first full trailer. It will take a lot to surpass the animated series, and with the confines of the 90-odd-minute format, even if released as a trilogy, I have a resigned feeling that much of the quirky atmosphere won't come across in favor of more action sequences.

But I can't complain, more Avatar is good Avatar. (Unless it's so bad it subtracts from the animated series...)

LacyinTX said...

I am so geeked out about this movie. I absolutely can not wait. :oD

Thanks for posting that trailer.


Renasko said...

Seems they've dropped the 'Avatar' part of the title altogether. Bah. As to the trailer itself, it doesn't look all bad. I'm not the most optimistic.

Jebus said...

Renasko - as Adam stated, that's to make sure there was no confusion with James Cameron's Avatar film.

I absolutely LOVE the cartoon and I really hope the humour is transferred to the screen. The trailer does look good though I too do not like the Katara actress and I find the switch to white actors bizarre. I hope it works but I've learned that getting my hopes up is pointless - film trailers LIE, they make a film seem way more awesome than it is.

Tyson said...

I would have enjoyed it more if there were actual Asians in the roles. I get sick of non-Asians playing Asian parts in films.

Carl V. said...

Looks really good. I actually am pleased by the choice of the girl. She has an interesting look and it is so refreshing to not see a "name" in the role. Nice to see fresh faces. I get tired of big movies always featuring people who make it hard to get lost in the film because their personalities are larger than the film itself.